May 042011

Ebola belongs to a family of viruses entitled Filoviridae, and is commonly classified as a viral hemorrhagic fever. After a person becomes infected with the Ebola virus, it begins to multiply within the body.

The disease can be passed to humans from infected animals and animal materials. Ebola can also be spread between humans by close contact with infected bodily fluids or through infected needles in the hospital.

Proper medical isolation of persons known or suspected of having Ebola or Marburg virus hemorrhagic fever will limit the spread of disease. Health care workers who care for these patients use gloves, gowns, and masks to prevent becoming infected themselves. Special care must be taken in properly disposing of medical wastes and tissues from these persons.

Symptoms of Ebola virus hemorrhagic fever begin 4 to 16 days after infection. Initial symptoms of Marburg virus hemorrhagic fever begin 3 to 9 days after infection. After 3 to 5 days of fever, the hemorrhagic manifestations of the disease begin.

A rash, red eyes, hiccups, and internal and external bleeding may be seen in some patients. When the rash develops on dark skin, it is often not recognized until the rash begins to peel.

In pregnant women, abortion (miscarriage) and heavy vaginal bleeding are common Ebola symptoms.

Symptoms and Signs

  • Malaise
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Backache(low)
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Arthritis

Late symptoms include:

  • Bleeding from eyes, ears, and nose
  • Bleeding from the mouth and rectum
  • Depression
  • Eye inflammation
  • Genital swelling
  • Increased feeling of pain in skin
  • Rash over the entire body that often contains blood
  • Roof of mouth looks red
  • Seizures, delirium

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